Crains Chicago - It’s not news that New Yorkers will want to hear.
The best pizza city in America is—drumroll—Portland, Ore. That’s according to the authors of the upcoming Modernist Pizza, Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya, who ate almost 400 pies from coast to coast to come to that conclusion.
Their three-volume, 1,700-page book will come out on Oct. 5 and will include a recipe manual.
Portland’s dominance didn’t surprise Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft Corp. and co-author of the monumental Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Bread. “We had an inkling it would be good,” he says, “but we were shocked at how good it was.”
He calls out two 15-year-old artisan pizzerias there, Apizza Scholls and Ken’s Artisan Pizza, that have set the standard for up-and-coming pizzialos. “It makes a difference if you’re shooting for something good,” adds Myhrvold, as opposed to trying to emulate the approaches at longstanding places that might be resting on their reputations. (He’s looking at you, New York and New Haven, Conn.).
Look, I have zero issues with the People's Republic Of Portland. When it comes to sovereign, socialist principalities, they are definitely my #1.
I had the opportunity of playing a pacific northwest tour like ten years ago with Sammy Adams. We spent a month in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska and I had serious thoughts about staying up there, changing my residence status, growing a beard, and living the laid back easy life.
It is jaw-droppingly beautiful up there. The air legitimately smells different. It smells amazing. Clean, crisp, fresh. It's green everywhere. And not like southern golf course green. It's a different shade from anything I've ever seen. Giant Bald Eagles flying all over the place. Wildlife everywhere the eye can see. I didn't smoke or do edibles back then but the weed is on a whole other level as everybody knows. The music scene is legit as fuck. Portland, Seattle, Eugene, Tacoma. Awesome places. All of them.
Here's the thing about Portland though, and again, I did my stint there ten years ago and I realize A LOT can change in ten years time, when I was there, the last thing anybody told me I had to try was their pizza.
When I travel, I go out of my way to take in as much of the place's food as possible. I'll drive hours and wait forever to get my hands on something I can only get in one place because you never know when you'll be there again and if that place will still be there.
Anyway, I hit Lardo first because that's what everybody told me I had to try. Back then it was just a food truck but it was one of the best meatball sandwiches I have ever had. Not Italian meatball, but "banh mi." Fucking blew my mind and my dick's getting hard just typing about it right now. (I mentioned it in this blog on best sandwiches in the US)
I had the chicken at Screen Door and the Pok Pok Wings, and we ate at Jake's twice it was so good. But aside from a few late-night slice's from late-night pizza places, we never went anywhere for pizza.
So imagine my shock when reading that there's a 1,700-page book coming out from two guys declaring Portland as the best pizza city in America…
Now don't get me wrong, this Apizza Scholls joint looks off the charts
And in saying that, I realize I am a rookie at this pizza thing. As I noted a couple weeks ago, I had been living in the dark my whole life until White Sox Dave brought me into the light-
Here I was, going out of my way to eat 2-3 pizza's a day every year I'd go back to Italy, when I could have just been enjoying the real deal right here in America. Stupid me.
Anyway again, this other spot mentioned, also looks incredible -
We all know you eat with your eyes first, and that said, these two places definitely pass the test. Are these ex Microsoft turned bread maker mother fuckers actually on to something? Is Portland a hidden pizza gem?
I originally wanted to say fuck that and that I stand with Dave, (because he's right. New Haven is the upper echelon here. The OG Frank Pepe's is the best pizza I've had in the United States. Sally's, Bar, and Modern aren't far behind)
But now my mind is buzzing and the slight feeling of FOMO or being wrong this entire time is beginning to creep in.
I think I need to look up flights and go find out.
p.s. - here are some of my top's